22.05.2022 13:34 h

Russia captain Dzyuba quits Zenit

Russian captain Artem Dzyuba announced on Sunday that he was leaving Zenit Saint Petersburg, two months after asking to be left out of the national squad because of the conflict in Ukraine.

"Saint-Pet', thank you for everything!" the 33-year-old striker wrote on his Instagram account.

The message was accompanied by a video showing a man in a superhero costume reciting a text of thanks in front of the Gazprom Arena, the Zenit stadium.

In a statement, the club thanked Dzyuba for his "sparkling play, incredible dedication, goals, assists, records and our joint victories".

The striker arrived at the club in the summer of 2015. He played his last league game on Saturday, a 1-0 defeat against Nizhny Novgorod.

With Zenit, Dzyuba won four Russian league titles in a row, between 2019 and 2022, and scored 108 goals in 249 games.

He did not specify whether he was staying in Russia or going abroad.

In mid-March, Dzyuba made headlines by missing a gathering of the Russian national team which he has captained since 2018.

The absence was linked to Russia's war in Ukraine where the player has relatives.

"I will not go to the national team camp, not for political reasons, but for family reasons," he said at the time. "During this period, I prefer to spend time with my family."

Following the invasion of Ukraine, Russian national teams and clubs were suspended from all FIFA and UEFA competitions until further notice, including the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.